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Eagle Banding at Gratiot Lake 

The pair of nesting eagles at Gratiot Lake produced a squawking baby boy in the spring of 2001. This was the third eaglet to hatch from this pair in the last four years.

In late June, Joe Papp, an eagle bander and wildlife biologist arrived at Gratiot Lake to band the eaglet. This turned out to be a memorable experience for the bird and for all of those who came to observe.

A view of the nest.

When he wasn't squawking for his parents to bring food, the eaglet spent much of his time preparing to fly and surveying the action on the lake.
In a matter of minutes, Joe climbed the 82’ to the nest and carefully placed the eaglet in a canvas bag for the descent. With 19 years of experience in banding eagles, Joe skillfully soothed the eaglet and brought him down to weigh and measure and to take the blood and feather samples that are gathered while banding.

The baby weighed in at six pounds nine ounces. Feather appearance, size, and wear showed he was seven weeks old. Blood and a few feathers were taken for analysis, and a coded band was put on his leg to allow birders to track his movements.

On the ground, Papp was assisted by Liz Hay, Headwaters’ Raven and Mike Scheiwe and student interns Kate Flynn, Jake Musser, and Zach Gayk, and Bonnie Hay. Ginny Jamison, two young fishermen, and a fawn joined the group to observe.

While the helpers held the eaglet, Joe Papp returned to the nest to search for unhatched eggs. He found one which was sent to the lab for analysis.

The eaglet was given pedialyte through a syringe to replenish lost fluids.

Thirty second excerpt from the QuickTime video below.

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Gratiot’s eaglet fledged and flew the third week of July.

To see a short video of the eaglet learning to fly, click the play button.
Eagle Links
Research on Environmental Contaminants and Bald Eagle Recovery at Clemson http://people.clemson.edu/~alanj/eagles.html
National Wildlife Federation’s Bald Eagle Information
Contact GLC Program Director: director@gratiotlakeconservancy.org
(Please put "Gratiot Lake" in subject line.)